Photo credit: Hilltoppersports.com
By Josh Smith, Contributing Writer
After winning three of the last five games, Coach Lynn Ullom and the Lady Hilltoppers (7-13, 6-8 MEC) are hoping to finish their season on a high note, beginning with Saturday’s matchup against the Fairmont State Lady Fighting Falcons (12-8, 9-5 MEC).
On Saturday, Feb. 4, the Lady Toppers will host the Lady Fighting Falcons in the ASRC at 2 p.m. Although the Toppers have struggled to finish games this season, they have won three of the last five games they have played. Two of the wins were against solid Mountain East Conference teams: West Virginia State and rival Wheeling Jesuit. The Toppers hope to pick up another good win against Fairmont on Saturday.
Last season, the Lady Toppers swept the Fighting Falcons, winning all three of their match-ups, one being in the MEC tournament. The Toppers have won six of the last eight games against the Fighting Falcons, and they hope their recent success against Fairmont State will carry them to victory.
Although the Lady Topper’s record is under .500, they have not had trouble scoring in recent games. As a team, they are averaging 71 points per game while shooting 41 percent from the field, 34 percent from three, and 74 percent from the free throw line. The Toppers have struggled to balance their defense with their offense, however, but they hope their impressive offense abilities will help end their season on a good note.
Junior McKenna Shives is leading the Lady Toppers in scoring this season. She is averaging 15 ppg while shooting 34 percent from the field, 33 percent from three, and 83 percent from the free-throw line. Although her field-goal percentage is relatively low, she averages nearly 15 shots per games, which helps put points on the board for the Toppers. She is also averages four assists and three rebounds per game.
Youngstown State transfer Marissa Brown is the other Topper averaging double digits in points this season. Brown is averaging 11 ppg while shooting a staggering 60 percent from the field and 64 percent from the free-throw line. In her first year with the Toppers, Brown is already showing her dominance in the post. Expect big things from her in the future.
Two other Lady Toppers are scoring just under ten points per game as well. Sophomores Brandi Beader and Johnie Olkosky are both category leaders for many of the statistics for the team. Beader is leading the team in three-point shooting percentages while making 43 percent of her shots from behind the arc, while Olkosky is shooting 35 percent from the third on the team, and both are shooting a whopping 82 percent from the free-throw line.
The Lady Toppers’ record is not what they’d like it to be, but the team hopes their determination and persistent attitude will help them finish the season strong. If you cannot attend the game, be sure to watch the livestream of it online at hilltoppersports.com or on channel 14. Tip-off is at 2 p.m.